It's nothing new that the skills learned by students while at Whitman will be beneficial later in life, but it is the variety of activities, classes, jobs and experiences from which these skills are acquired that may come as a surprise.
For Justin Rose '15 from Corvallis, Oregon, it wasn't necessarily his rhetoric degree that led him to his career nor landed him a job working for the Green Bay Packers in Wisconsin. Instead, it was the experience he gained while working with Whitman's Technology Services and as a technology and marketing fellow for the Student Engagement Center (SEC).
"When I was working with the Packers, I asked my boss later, ‘why did you want to hire me out of all the applicants for this role?' He told me that it was so great that I had a little bit of work experience in a support role with tech services, but then after that I started developing programs, running social accounts, running websites with actual consumer-based training and responsibility," Rose said. "I was given lots of responsibility in a space that I was comfortable and that helped me further down the line."
Rose's fellowship with the SEC introduced him to the world of social platforms and turned his focus toward his interest in working in sports content.
"It's a hard field to break into, so I did a lot of bouncing around, I knew that I wanted to stay in that field," Rose said.
He quickly learned the importance of being flexible and jumping at opportunities when they arise. After his role at the SEC, Rose worked for the Packers for a little over a year before moving to Los Angeles to work for the NFL.
"If you really want a diversified experience, you have to be super flexible with your location and the roles you take on, because the more experience and the more diversified your experience in your job space, the more it will help you down the line," Rose said.
Today Rose works for Nike. He is a technical designer and works in content execution and strategy for the North America team that works with the Nike App, Nike Run Club, Nike Training Club and Nike.com in the American football, soccer, basketball, Jordan brand and field sport categories.
"It is a lot of pumping out content and planning and executing and seeing how we can get that to consumers as much as possible," Rose said.
The majoring in rhetoric at Whitman prepared Rose for his role at Nike by helping him develop effective communication skills.
"Public speaking is huge if you work for any sort of large company to get your voice out there and communicate effectively," he said.
Rose said his position with Nike and being able to work the major sports moments of today is a dream job. A few "sport moments" he has supported include the Women's World Cup, the NCAA tournament (March Madness) and the NFL Draft. He credits his position to the skills he developed while at Whitman.
"I understand the impulse to get out of Walla Walla and to want to be in a bigger city, but there are some really exciting roles and things to learn at Whitman, and in my experience, no one has ever said, ‘Oh you stayed at school for another year.' No, they say, ‘Wow, you really wanted to apply yourself there.'"